The pandemic has caused us to take a pause and reevaluate the way that we operate our businesses. If you have a warehouse, you know this all too well. But if you are yet to reopen, take a moment to plan ahead so that your employees and customers can enjoy peace of mind. The following warehouse safety tips from Latin American Cargo can help you recover from the COVID virus, and the changes you make now will keep everyone safe moving forward in an uncertain world.
While social distancing and mask-wearing remain key ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus between individuals, warehouse sanitation is just as important. Start by ensuring that your employees have access to safe and effective disinfecting products and that they are encouraged to use these products when washing their hands isn’t practical.
You will also want to enact a stringent cleaning schedule, particularly if you have different shifts that come into contact with the same high-touch surfaces. If possible, plan your workday around allowing employees to clean their workstations for an additional 15 to 20 minutes at the end of each shift.
If your warehouse is still operating but you are experiencing lowered production or worse, recurring incidents of infection, it may be time to evaluate the effectiveness of your management team. It may be necessary to hire a new warehouse manager that is well-versed in how to operate efficiently and is willing to make tough decisions to keep employees and customers safe.
You may also want to reorganize your management flowchart and add additional team leads in each department. This will assist with accountability and ensure you have supervisory eyes on how well your employees are adhering to your warehouse safety guidelines.
Warehouse organization is one of the best things you can do for efficiency. Fortunately, in doing so, you will also reduce the movement of people through your warehouse, which lessens potential transmission rates.
Start by taking a look at your floor plan. Map out your warehouse space so that there is a logical flow. Put complementary items within arm’s reach if possible. For example, if you routinely sell one particular item alongside another, make sure your employees do not have to go from one side of the building to the next to pack an order. Your warehouse should also have plenty of storage and lots of room to pack and ship.
Reduce the number of hands that come into contact with products and materials as they come into your warehouse. Set things up so that the same people are responsible for receiving, inspecting, and recording individual shipments; you can utilize shift scheduling software to help you put together repeat schedules for these particular jobs.
If it is not practical to consistently have the same hands on incoming and outgoing merchandise, Fast Company notes that cardboard and stainless steel may only harbor the virus for 24 to 72 hours, respectively. This means that if your products can sit undisturbed for this amount of time, the risk of transmission is extremely low.
Just as important as all of the above is ensuring that your staff is trained in both best warehousing practices and hygiene as it relates to keeping everyone safe during the coronavirus pandemic. You can use online companies for staff training in all areas, including safety metrics, operational procedures, and shipping practices. Training should be ongoing, and it will help to dedicate a team or individual to document what works best and what doesn’t.
Keeping your customers safe starts at your dock doors. How you intake products, move them through your warehouse, and get them out the door has an impact on both your bottom line and the customer experience. The strategies and warehouse safety tips above can get you started, but ultimately, your warehousing safety plan will be as unique as you and your business.
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